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Big Changes to Underfunded Multiemployer Plans Coming in 2015

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (the ?Ç£Act?Ç¥) was signed into law mid-December. The Act?ÇÖs changes include permitting certain multiemployer plans to suspend benefits for participants, including participants already receiving benefits; doubling the amount of PBGC premiums; addressing contribution schedules once collective bargaining agreements expire; and increasing PBGC?ÇÖs ability to partition plans and facilitate plan mergers. Generally, the Act?ÇÖs provisions are effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, which contains the Act, can be found here.

IRS Issues 2015 Employer Guidance on Fringe Benefits

The IRS issued a new Publication 15-B, Employer?ÇÖs Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits for employers to use in 2015. A copy of the publication can be found here.

Guidelines Regarding Determination Letter Requests by Pension Equity Plans

The IRS issued guidelines for determination letter applications for pension equity plans. A pension equity plan (?Ç£PEP?Ç¥) is a type of hybrid pension plan under which the benefit is expressed as a lump-sum amount rather than as an annuity payable at normal retirement age. The ?Ç£PEP Determinations Worksheet?Ç¥ and ?Ç£Explanation of PEP Plan Issues,?Ç¥ which are for use by IRS employees in processing determination letter requests, explain issues unique to PEPs that affect plan documents. An IRS Field Directive to IRS employees contains a number of sample provisions that would satisfy the requirement for the plan document to include language that ensures a participant?ÇÖs accrued benefit will not be reduced on account of any increase in age or service. Links to all three documents can be found on the updated IRS webpage.

Treasury Department Issues Final Regulations Regarding Affordability and Other Issues

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued final regulations under the Affordable Care Act (the ?Ç£ACA?Ç¥). For purposes of determining whether the premium tax credit is available to an individual on the exchange, in order to determine the ?Ç£affordability?Ç¥ of the employer?ÇÖs coverage when an employee does not enroll in the employer?ÇÖs primary plan, amounts made available under a health reimbursement arrangement (?Ç£HRA?Ç¥) will count toward the employee?ÇÖs required contribution if the HRA would have been integrated with the employer?ÇÖs plan if the employee had enrolled in the primary plan. These regulations further provide that HRA contributions which can be used for premiums and cost-sharing only count for purposes of determining ?Ç£affordability?Ç¥ and not ?Ç£minimum value.?Ç¥ Additionally, for purposes of determining an individual?ÇÖs required contribution, an HRA is taken into account only if the HRA and the employer?ÇÖs primary plan are offered by the same employer. Note that the… Continue Reading

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